Joyner Lucas has been making rap music since at least 2007. His mixtape Along Came Joyner was released in 2016 and helped push the rapper into the limelight, scoring him exposure on BET and led to a deal with Atlantic Records.
In 2017 Lucas released the album 508-507-2209, which was named as such after his actual phone number. That album enjoyed much success, with singles such as “Just Like You” garnering over 11 million views on YouTube.
While successful, Joyner wasn’t making as big a splash as he could have been making, given the impeccable quality of lyricism and skill displayed on his major label debut album. That all changed when Lucas released the single and accompanying music video “I’m Not Racist” to YouTube.
“I’m Not Racist” depicts a white Donald Trump supporter in the synonymous red Make America Great Again Hat hurling racial epithets at a black man sitting across the table from him. Halfway through the song, the Trump supporter sits down and the other man has his say. The video went viral quickly. It’s currently just shy of the 100 million milestone in terms of YouTube views.
Not long after the success of “I’m Not Racist,” Joyner Lucas teamed up with Eminem for a song on Eminem’s most recent album Kamikaze.
— Joyner Lucas (@JoynerLucas) October 22, 2018
The song was the biggest hit on Eminem’s record and scored Joyner his first platinum award. Currently, that video sits at 67 million views on YouTube.
Lucas recently announced he was working on a new album entitled ADHD, which as of yet has no release date. However, the song “Lucky You” was released as the album’s first single and is already topping 7 million views with minimal marketing.
When ADHD drops, Eminem will return Joyner’s favor of appearing on Kamikaze by also making an appearance on Lucas’ record, which means Joyner Lucas is probably headed for a massive amount of exposure.
As mainstream rap has been dominated by overly repetitive hooks, mumbled verses, and little in the way of wordplay, Joyner Lucas is the young, fresh talent hip-hop has been waiting for. While Eminem’s newest album did sell undeniably well, it had already been well-established that Marshall Mathers is one of the all-time greats in terms of hip-hop music. Many heads have been scratched in wonder of who, if anyone, will be the next brilliant rapper to follow Eminem.
After 20 years as the undisputed king of hip-hop, Eminem has proven his legacy will be remembered for ages. But Lucas is a new flavor altogether. He’s every bit as angry, abrasive, and catchy as Eminem, but carries an ability to change flows in an instant, multiple times throughout a song. Eminem is a master of his craft, but Joyner gives him a run for his money where integrating a number of different cadences into one song is concerned.
Joyner also has a profound poetic side that transcends rap, making him accessible to more than just hip-hop fans.
It may be autumn right now but prepare for Joyner season because it’s definitely on the horizon.